Sponge Cake

8 oz SR flour

8 oz soft margarine

8 oz sugar

4 eggs

a dash of vanillla essence

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until light in colour. If it curdles just throw in a handfull of flour.

Turn into 2 greased 8″ sandwich tins and cook in a medium oven, gas 5 for about half an hour. Don’t use a fan oven, or if you have no choice then turn the heat down. I have found the cake cooks on the outside but can be runny in the middle with a fan oven but I haven’t really experimented as I have a double oven and one is conventional.

If when you press the top of the cake it springs back then the cake is cooked. Keep an eye on it after 20 minutes but don’t open the oven while it’s sloppy.

Turn out onto cooling racks and then sandwich together with your chosen filling

Grandpa’s coffee butter cream

Beat together 4 oz softened butter, 8 oz icing sugar (sifted), 2 tsps strong instant coffee disolved in a bit of boiling water.

This is enough to put some in the middle only.

Plain butter cream

As above and leave out the coffee and add a dash of vanilla essence (make more if you want to cover the cake). Spread seedless jam on one layer and top with the butter cream.

Sift icing sugar on the top of the cake before serving

Now I’m hungry!

Plain Basmati Rice

Fill a pan one third full of water with half a tsp salt and bring to the boil

When it is boiling hold your bag of basmati rice about a foot above the water and pour it in a stream into the middle of the pan until the peak just breaks the surface of the water.

Stir the rice and return to the boil then cover and turn the heat right down to minimum. Set the timer for 10 minutes.

When the timer goes off DON’T lift the lid. Turn off the heat and leave for a further 10 minutes.

It’s done!

It will freeze and chill so don’t worry if you’ve made too much. The microwave is a wonderful gadget.


Yellow Basmati Rice

Fry half a tsp cumin seed and a tsp black mustard seed in oil and when the mustard seeds stop popping throw in a chopped onion and stir. Cook gently until soft then add a large mug of rice and stir again.

Add half a tsp turmeric, a cinamon stick and a few cadamon pods and stir so the rice is evenly distributed across the pan. No heaps this time. Top up with boiling water until the water is about half an inch above the surface of the rice.

Stir the rice and return the water gently to the boil

Cover and reduce the heat to very low. Cook for 10 minutes with the lid on

DON’T lift the lid. After 10 minutes turn off the heat and leave for a further 10 minutes.

It’s done!

You can actually leave it for longer than 10 minutes now because all the water has been absorbed.

Fluff it up with a fork and serve with the chicken Korma. YUM


Quick and easy Chicken Korma

Start the night before

In a food processor or with a stick blender puree together:

1 tsp ground ginger

3 cloves garlic

150g thick natural yoghurt

half a fresh chilli, including seeds

2 onions

1 tbsp ground corriander

1 tsp turmeric

175g creamed coconut grated

quarter tsp salt

2 – 3 tbsp ground almonds

juice half a lemon

pour the smooth mixture over three chopped chicken breasts and marinate in the fridge overnight.

Next morning put in a non stick saucepan and stew until the sauce has lost its firiness and the chicken is cooked.

Stir in a small tub of thick creamor creme fraiche and warm through.

Serve with basmati rice

Sausage Casserole


8 or 9 good quality sausages

tinned tomatoes

glass of red wine

cooking oil

large onion

1 green pepper

2 cloves garlic

good slug Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp granulated sweetener

tabasco sauce to taste

Salt and pepper


Heat the oven to gas 5 etc

In an oven proof saucepen brown the sausages a bit and remove from the pan.

Add the onions and fry in the oil for a few minutes then add the chopped peppers and garlic and fry until the veg are soft.

Add the rest of the ingredients and return the sausages to the pan.

Place the pan in the oven and cook with the lid off for half an hour. If it starts to dry out, add a bit of water to improve the consistency.